Although he was raised in a privileged environment, he helped the less fortunate. His biggest role was dedicated to representing them and empowering the community. His concerns to the poor were exhibited in his actions. It is his emphatic character that made him extraordinary as a philanthropist as well as an individual who went beyond his status and wealth in helping the poor. Jiak Kim spent his early years in education, maintaining his family and working in his fathers’ company. Soon, Jiak Kim took over the leadership of his family and business. He rose to become an exemplary philanthropist and a successful businessman.
In his political career, Jiak Kim assumed various leadership roles; as elected municipal commissioner, legislative councilor, Justice of Peace, the Hokkien representative on the government’s Chinese Advisory Board, Head of the Tan Clan Association, Member of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Committee, first president of the Straits Chinese British Association and a trustee of various schools. Jiak Kim is the longest serving legislative councillor, and through that opportunity, he advocated for the welfare of the poor. Among the notable achievements of Jiak Kim is the legislative council is asking for water standpipes to supply water to rickshaw coolie depots and lodgings. He also defended the poor market gardeners and poultry raisers who majorly relied on dogs for protection of their properties against the imposition of the double dog tax.
Jiak Kim was vocal on matters that concerned trade, defence, public health, education, social measures, administrative and constitutional reforms as well as economic issues that affected not only his community but also Singapore at large. He fought the bills that the bills that would jeopardise the well-being of the community and supported those that were beneficial to the livelihoods of his people. In support to education, Jiak Kim donated freely to different schools including Raffles Institution, Chui Eng Chinese Free School, and the Anglo-Chinese School. His father founded the Chiu Eng Chinese Free School which greatly helped in shaping and providing knowledge to thousands of students. Jiak Kim and his family believed that education would play an important role in the development of Singapore.
Jiak Kim died in 22nd Oct 1917 and left behind a legacy that continues to impact today’s generation. He not only lived a satisfying life but was a dedicated leader who would give anything for the development of Singapore. A street in the River Valley district was named after him to honour his contribution in the growth of Singapore!